Photos capture free spirit of Glastonbury Festivals through the years
Glastonbury Festival is taking a break this year, but for those who are still longing for their fix here is a look back at past festivals through the lens of Brian Walker, the photographer who has been there from the very beginning. Reporter Tina Rowe enjoys looking back at his album...
He has captured your good times, everybody’s youth, over more than 40 years, and watched as the photographers of the world joined in the free-spirited party.
But Brian Walker does not seek the spotlight himself. This modest man was doing what he does so well, quietly capturing life as it happened, naturally and without fuss; the young couples arriving at Worthy Farm in the festival’s infancy, the mud and the mayhem of later years, the sheer energy and excitement of the performances, the panoramas of people.
At his home in Glastonbury he reaches for a book of negatives, and leafs through some of the thousands of images safely filed away. Classic black and white photographs conjure the summer of 1971 when just 5,000 camped in the sun.
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There are the naked dancers, but where are they now? You may be a bank manager now, but perhaps this was you in your exuberant youth.
As he looks at another image, Mr Walker recalls: “These were the first hippies, Michael and Jane Rainey – she was the daughter of Lord Harlech.”
Here is the first Pyramid stage, glowing in the dark. And here is the stage that burned down, and the firefighters who tried to save it.
Here is Bolan, here is Bjork backlit in red dress with hair flying, and so many others.
Here is the mud city of 1985 and a girl telephoning from a phone booth and holding a mud-caked sleeping bag round her bedraggled form. Here is a bearded man with creased forehead, his hair so caked that he looks like a member of a lost tribe from the mist-shrouded forests of Papua New Guinea, save for his can of beer and his fingers raised in a cheerful victory sign.
What does Mr Walker think of the festival after all these years? “I love it,” he says. “ It’s the best thing that happened to me and the best thing that has happened to Glastonbury.”